Abrakadoodle Art Teachers Team-Up to Transform Special Needs Center
“I believe that art is important, beautifying the world around us,” remarked Veronica Jones, Art Teacher, Abrakadoodle of Prince William County. She took the lead in a special project to transform a space for children and adults with special needs. “A colorful, welcoming space can help spark creativity and beckon children to learn,” Ms. Jones said, “especially in forgotten spaces.” That sentiment reflects the leadership and care that she and her colleagues brought to help refurbish the Muriel Humphrey Developmental Child Care Center located in Dale City at 3505 Hillendale Drive. Starting Sunday, June 9th and continuing through Tuesday, June 11th, Abrakadoodle of Prince William County staff donated approximately 15-20 hours each to refurbish three classrooms with unique, hand-painted wall murals.
“I am incredibly gratified to see the level of commitment shown by Eileen, Troy and her entire team of teachers,” said Rosemarie Harnett, President and Co-Founder of Abrakadoodle. “To dive into this large art project with such energy and enthusiasm reflects the type of caring leadership that makes the entire Abrakadoodle brand shine.”
“I am so impressed with the ladies from Abrakadoodle,” remarked Donna Shipman, Director of Child Care Services, ARC Greater Prince William. “They came out day after day to make sure the art was just right. I really appreciated their commitment, which resulted in lively, beautiful and colorful murals that everyone loves, especially the children. The murals brought the classrooms to life.” Ms. Shipman expressed great enthusiasm for her relationship with Abrakadoodle of Prince William County and said that the partnership will be expanding to include art classes at her ARC centers and group homes.
The beautification project had its beginnings with Leadership Prince William, a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage and inspire individuals, organizations and alumni to enrich the community through collaborative leadership. Joy Ocetnik, ARC Recreation & Training Director, submitted the winning proposal on behalf of the ARC for the desired beautification project of their facilities. This 10-month project led by Leadership Prince William entailed a true team effort with training and fundraising, including fulfilling an Amazon wish list for materials. In partnership with Comcast for Comcast Cares Day in early May, approximately 300 volunteers provided four hours of community service by updating the playground, repainting rooms and much more. The ARC has for over 50 years been providing services for children and adults with special needs. The Muriel Humphrey Developmental Child Care Center is open Monday through Friday from 5:00am to 7:00 pm and provides a range of therapeutic and educational activities in addition to recreation and friendship opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Leadership Prince William reached out to the Prince William Arts Council to find volunteers to add art to finish beautifying the ARC site. Abrakadoodle answered the call for help. “Abrakadoodle’s teachers were phenomenal,” stated Andrea Money, Executive Director of Leadership Prince William. “The hours they invested in this project were much more than we expected.”
According to Sue McIntyre, Art Teacher, Abrakadoodle PWC, “This activity brought us together as a team and brought joy to our hearts.” Services of the ARC are not unknown to her. Sue has a nephew who takes part in ARC day programs in Prince Georges County. When her brother died last year, the ARC was an invaluable resource that enabled her sister-in-law to continue working with the confidence that her son was in good hands.
Liz Urena, Art Teacher, Abrakadoodle PWC, commented, “It was an honor to brighten their space and create a special energy.” With experience teaching in special education, Liz understands the benefits of this project. She said, “The kids were absolutely thrilled, as well as the staff. If our work brings a smile, then it’s all worthwhile.”
Eileen Moore, Educational Director of Abrakadoodle PWC, was joined by her husband Troy on Monday and Tuesday as they joined in to complete the ambitious mural project. “I’m really proud of my teachers and the commitment they continue to show in both providing outstanding art education experiences for our students and in giving back to benefit our Prince William community. Their passion for art and children is heartwarming.”
Abrakadoodle proudly salutes Eileen, Troy and teachers Veronica Jones, Sue McIntyre and Liz Urena for making a wonderful difference by painting inspiring murals to enliven three classrooms at the Muriel Humphrey Developmental Child Care Center. This beautification project is a wonderful example of how community partnerships can work wonders.
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